Disney Accelerator Program Announces its First 11 Startups

Disney has named the first 11 startups to participate in its 15-week Accelerator program. The diverse first class of tech-driven media and entertainment startups will be mentored by top Disney execs and receive up to $120,000 in seed funding. Mentors will include leaders from ABC, ESPN, Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar and Walt Disney Imagineering. The companies will be advised how to best develop effective business plans, product launches and marketing campaigns. Continue reading Disney Accelerator Program Announces its First 11 Startups

E3 2014: Nintendo Unveils New Games, Experimental Robots

In the wake of Wii U struggles, Nintendo hopes its E3 announcements this week will please company loyalists and possibly help generate new fans. The company introduced new figurines with NFC chips that will work with its video games. It also announced integration of custom Mii avatars for the upcoming “Super Smash Bros.” fighting game, a new “Legend of Zelda” game coming to the Wii U in 2015, a kid-friendly shooting game called “Splatoon,” and a variety of other new and experimental game titles. Continue reading E3 2014: Nintendo Unveils New Games, Experimental Robots

Amazon to Sell Kid’s Show and Merchandise via Content Hub

Amazon and Hit Entertainment have teamed up to offer a “content hub,” which will allow preschoolers to watch episodes of a new children’s television show, “Fireman Sam,” alongside ads for related merchandise, such as toys and apparel. “Fireman Sam” episodes will be available exclusively on Amazon, starting with the first 13 episodes released yesterday. The content hub raises questions about children’s advertising, which is usually subject to regulation when it appears on TV. Continue reading Amazon to Sell Kid’s Show and Merchandise via Content Hub

Thanksgiving and Black Friday Experience Record Mobile Sales

Yesterday we reported that tablets were the most popular CE device during the holiday weekend shopping surge and Apple’s iPad led the charge at retailers such as Target and Walmart. According to Adobe’s Digital Index 2013 report, new records were set for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. More than 24 percent of online sales occurred via smartphones and tablets, a year-over-year increase of 118 percent. In addition, iOS devices drove more than $543 million in online sales. Continue reading Thanksgiving and Black Friday Experience Record Mobile Sales

Kids Engage in Disney Infinity, Game Generates Big Numbers

Disney sold 400,000 units of its “Infinity” game system in the two weeks since its debut, generating an estimated $30 million. In its first week of availability, sales for the new game matched sales of Activision Blizzard’s “Skylanders Giants” during its debut week. According to Activision, “Skylanders Giants” was the top children’s game of the 2012 holiday season. Like “Skylanders,” “Infinity” allows kids to combine collectible figures with on screen video game play. Continue reading Kids Engage in Disney Infinity, Game Generates Big Numbers

Hasbro Reaches Out to Fans for New Transformer Character

Hasbro announced its “Fan Built Bot” poll to help kick-off the Transformers 30th anniversary celebration scheduled for 2014. The global poll to create the next Transformer character is open to all age groups and runs until May 5th. The fan designed Transformer will be featured in new comic books and be a part of the “Thrilling 30” special edition collectible action figures from Hasbro. Continue reading Hasbro Reaches Out to Fans for New Transformer Character

Sales of Physical Toys Impacted by Rise of Tablets and Apps

Jim Silver, editor in chief of timetoplaymag.com, estimates that more than 90 percent of the “so-called app toys that were trotted out last year sold poorly,” reports the Wall Street Journal. But toy companies are still trying to make it work, begging the question: “why have a hybrid, combining some aspect of a tablet with an actual physical toy or game, when a tablet alone will do?” Continue reading Sales of Physical Toys Impacted by Rise of Tablets and Apps

Disney Announces Mobile App Toys that Turn the iPad into Virtual Play Mat

  • Disney announced this week its AppMATes Mobile Application Toys that use a sensor on the bottom of each toy, which identifies the object to an iPad app (no cable or Bluetooth connection required) and creates a virtual play mat for exploration and games.
  • “The ‘Cars’ toys are meant to be driven across the top of an iPad, interacting with a downloadable ‘Cars 2’ Appmates app, which lets kids drive around courses, race and complete missions,” explains Engadget. “The app will be offered up as a free download through iTunes, and the cars will run $20 for a two-pack — the different toys unlock different features, according to Disney.”
  • “We have cracked the technology code in changing the way kids play with their toys,” said Sunny Lauridsen, director of digital toys for Disney Consumer Products. “Kids will always use toys to play out their favorite Disney stories, but Disney Appmates now allows them to include technology which has become a way of life for them through a beautifully rich app.”
  • According to the press release: “Each toy unlocks different features and content within the app specific to the character, allowing kids to come back over and over to enjoy an imaginative, open-ended play experience using the Appmates toys. Fans can download and test the app by simply using their fingers to drive a virtual car through the world, but the play experience is optimized to come to life with the Appmates toy vehicles.”
  • The toys will be available in October through the Apple Store, Apple Store online, Disney Stores, DisneyStore.com and national retailers.

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